Les Jardins de Paris
Explore the Parks in Paris
Paris may not have many parks compared to other cities in Europe, but what is there, is absolutely gorgeous. Whilst living here, MLP has noticed how much the French love their green spaces – this is partly due, one could surmise, to the city’s housing situation which offers plenty of high-rise buildings but very little outside space. Consequently, the parks in Paris are the gardens of its inhabitants, and they are mostly cared for with love and affection.
Super Mama Jen Hamerman has compiled a guide to the Parks in Paris to help you Mamas and Papas out there. So here is everything you need to know. Enjoy Paris Park life! Over to you Jen…
Bonjour! Il fait beau! The sunny days are here again and this is the perfect time to explore the gems that are the parks of Paris. This is a city that treasures its green spaces so there is plenty to tempt you and the family out and into the sunshine!
Bois de Vincennes
This huge green space on the eastern side of Paris is so diverse a two-and-half hour documentary ‘The Woods Dreams Are Made Of’ about it was recently released in French cinemas. Film-maker Claire Simon was inspired to explore what this park means to those who use it. For Paris families it is a treasure. You can walk, run and cycle through the woods to enjoy the wildlife. The 17.5km of cycle tracks and 32km of car-free roads gives you an idea of the sheer space of this park. Rent a boat, enjoy the roller-blade tracks, sit back and relax in a deckchair or just stroll and enjoy watching Paris at play.
The Bois de Vincennes is home to the wonderful Parc Floral which has some of the best playgrounds in Paris, a butterfly house and the Valley of Flowers, as well as mini-golf, a giant slide and table tennis.
The Ferme de Paris is also to be found in the Bois de Vincennes and it is a great hit with younger city kids who love a chance to meet the farm animals and get involved in the workshops that the Ferme runs. You can also explore the Chateau de Vincennes and you are well-placed to head to the Paris Zoo. Head east and enjoy the city’s ‘green lung’!
Bois de Vincennes, Paris 75012, Metro: Chateau de Vincennes or Porte-Dorée
Jardin des Tuileries
This garden is beautiful. The elegance of the clipped lines of trees. The instantly recognisable green chairs gathered around the water. The splendid vista from the Louvre down to the big wheel. This park is as beautiful on a grey day as it is on a day of big blue skies. The carousel, outdoor trampolines and playground are a great draw for the kids. Pop into the Orangerie museum to see Monet’s Waterlilies or the Jeu de Paume to catch a photography exhibition or go for a browse of the English language books in nearby WH Smith. The Tuileries are always a good idea.
Jardin des Tuileries, 113 rue de Rivoli, Paris 75001, Metro : Tuileries, Concorde, Palais Royal, Bus : 72, 24, 48, 69, 81
Jardin du Luxembourg
For many of us, this wonderful, ancient garden symbolises Paris. The beauty of the planting is breathtaking whatever the season. Toddlers with buckets and spades in the rose garden. Pony rides, Guignol puppet shows and the sound of racquets hitting tennis balls. Wooden sailboats and French families out for a Sunday stroll. It’s an idyllic and romantic refuge. But with a terrific playground.
Jardin du Luxembourg, Rue de Médicis – Rue de Vaugirard, 75006 Paris, Bus: 82, 83, 85, 38, RER: Luxembourg
Jardin des Plantes
This beautiful botanical garden used to be a herb garden for French royalty and now it’s a much loved public garden and home to four museums and a mini-zoo. Those who know it feel great affection for this park but it is never over-run with visitors. Tempt your kids over there with the promise animals of the Galerie de l’Evolution and then get the whole family out for a stroll around the beautiful plants and trees that this garden hosts. And don’t forget to stop for delicious mint tea and cakes in the tea-room of the neighbouring Mosque afterwards. The Mosque Tea Room is open to all.
Jardin des Plantes, 57 rue Cuvier 75005 Paris
Parc des Buttes-Chaumont
If you want a change from the orderly and elegant Tuileries, it could be that the dramatic waterfalls, cliffs, meandering paths of the Buttes-Chaumont are for you. Theatrical and quirky, this park has character. Check out the Mama Loves Paris review of this fabulous park. – See featured image.
Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, 1 Rue Botzaris, 75019 Paris
Parc de Belleville
Head to the 20th arrondissement for some of the best views of Paris. Parc de Belleville is set on a slope and has the longest waterfall in Paris. Head up to the terrace at the top of the park for a wonderful panoramic skyscape of the city and a fantastic spot for photos. The sunset views are worth staying late for. This park has a relaxed vibe, with table tennis tables, wooden playgrounds and large lawns with families enjoying picnics. The floral displays are spectacular.
Parc de Belleville, Rue des Couronnes, Paris 75020, Metro: Pyrénées, Belleville, Couronnes, Bus: 26 or 96
Parc André Citroën
Beautifully situated on the left bank in the 15th arrondissement and opened in 1992, Parc André Citroën is one of the most modern parks in Paris. It feels almost futuristic. The park was built on the site of the former Citroën car plant and features computerised sounds, a reflecting pool, smaller, colour-themed gardens, glasshouse pavilions and a hot air balloon. Yes, really, a hot air balloon! And you can take a ride in it to see Paris from 150m up in the air. This park is a wonderfully refreshing change. The playgrounds are very good and are zoned for different ages. The dancing water jets are almost impossible for children to resist running in but the signs say it is forbidden. MLP saw that as early as April the poor park-keeper was already beginning his summer-long battle to keep the kids out. The kids were winning!
Parc André Citroën, 2 Rue Cauchy, 75015 Paris, Metro : Javel
Parc de la Villette
Another modern classic, the Parc de la Villette is the third largest park in Paris and is found in the north-east of the city. Many Parisiens head there to visit the fantastic science museum, the Philharmonie music venue and the IMAX cinema. But the park itself is well worth a visit in its own right. There are ten themed gardens to explore. A favourite with kids is the Jardin du Dragon which is home to a very large dragon sculpture with a huge slide for children. Enjoy a stroll along the Canal de l’Ourcq. Don’t forget the open air film festival in the summer months. Right now you have the perfect excuse to head out to Villette as the James Bond exhibition is open at the Grande Halle de la Villette
Parc de la Villette, 211 avenue Jean Jaurès, Paris 75019, Metro : Porte de Pantin or Porte de la Villette, Bus : 75, 151, 139, 150, 152
The Parc Monceau was designed in the English style and so is less formal than some other Paris parks. The paths are winding and some of the trees are 200 years old. It’s so diverse it has an Egyptian pyramid, a Venetian bridge and a Chinese pagoda. With the carousel, swing-sets and playground, the park is understandably very popular with local families from the 8th arrondissement and the neighboring 17th. It’s the perfect place for a picnic after visiting the Musée Jacquemart-André.
Parc Monceau, 35 Boulevard de Courcelles, Paris 75008, Metro: Monceau or Malesherbes, Bus : 84
The Parc Montsouris is a joy. It’s a real neighbourhood hang-out for the families of the 14th arrondissement and they are lucky enough to enjoy a lake, waterfall, lawns that you can actually sit on, and lovely sloping hills. The design is similar to an English landscape garden and the atmosphere is especially relaxed. Kids love the great playground, the puppets and the ponies. Don’t let the residents of the 14th keep it for themselves! Head over and perhaps combine it with a visit to the Catacombs.
Parc Montsouris, 2 rue Gazan, Paris 75014
Bois de Boulogne
Another ‘green lung’, this huge space is on the western side of the city and is greatly beloved of Parisiens. It used to be a hunting ground for the Kings of France and is an enormous public park. It’s a wonderful wilderness of cycle paths, lakes and gardens and it can feel like the real countryside right in Paris. Families flock to rent boats and bikes or picnic at the wooden tables.
The Bois de Boulogne is home to the Jardin d’Acclimatation, a 20 acre amusement park for children. This is a great day out, with rides, playgrounds and a mini-farm. The summer months see kids gleefully running through the sprinklers. A fun way to arrive for younger kids is to take the little train that runs from Porte Maillot to the main entrance of the park.
Another gem found in the Bois de Boulogne is the Parc de Bagatelle, a gorgeous 18th-century landscaped park and chateau, with a Chinese-style pagoda, waterfalls & peacocks. And don’t miss the Pré Catelan park which houses the Jardin du Shakespeare and a great play area for younger children.
Of course the Fondation Louis Vuitton is the latest addition to the Bois de Boulogne and this museum has a great Chinese art exhibition at the moment. And don’t forget to ride the little Louis Vuitton navette bus back into town after your Bois de Boulogne outing. It costs just a Euro and you can use it whether or not you have been visiting the Fondation Louis Vuitton (or at least MLP does!) and it drops you near the Champs–Élysées.
Metro: Pont de Neuilly
Parc de Sceaux
It’s not strictly inside Paris but it’s so beautiful we just can’t leave it out. Parc de Sceaux is just south of Paris and is easily accessible on the RER. The locals love it and it’s also a much-loved destination for Parisens wanting to picnic outside the city. There is a grand chateau and you can stroll through the gardens which were designed by Andre Le Notre, who also designed the gardens of Versailles and Chantilly.
Château de Sceaux – 92330 Sceaux, RER: Line B to Bourg-la-Reine, Sceaux ou Parc de Sceaux stations
Great report Jen, thank you. Readers might also like to find out which parks in Paris are going to be open for24 hours a day. The story was recently posted on our Facebook page.
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There is plenty of inspiration within htis blogsite. Stick around and search through past posts to find plenty of brilliant ideas.